It’s been more than a month since Google officially unveiled the Nexus One smartphone, and no lack of support issues have brought the technology giant to unveil yet another welcomed thing – a dedicated phone support line specifically tailored to the problems and havoc that Nexus One owners have been facing for the last thirty or so days.
Whereas iPhone owners may have gotten a so-so update, Nexus One owners finally have something to be upbeat about – Google has released an over-the-air update enabling multitouch (finally), Google Goggles (again, finally), and some 3G fixes (triple thumbs-up).
Motorola's CEO has apparently confirmed that the company is working on a Google-branded device, similar to the HTC-made Nexus One. Speaking as part of the company's quarterly financial results call, chief executive Sanjay Jha revealed that Motorola were indeed developing a "direct to consumer device with Google".
Google's first direct to the customer Android phone, the Nexus One, has had its image tarnished a bit with many users reporting significant 3G woes when using the handset. Both Google and T-Mobile have been investigating the issues.
Google's Nexus One has only been on sale for just over a week, and unsurprisingly the search giant aren't being especially forthcoming with sales figures quite yet. That hasn't stopped mobile application analytics company Flurry from sticking their collective neck out and estimating around 20,00 of the Android 2.1 devices had been sold, and contrasting that with first-week Motorola DROID sales of 250,000 handsets and iPhone 3GS sales of 1.6m handsets.
The Google support forums are awash with customer complaints about the newly released Nexus One smartphone. Consumers buying the device are finding that Google's level of customer support is limited to email, which is only answered in a day or two - there happens to be absolutely no direct phone support available at all. The main complaint according to Engadget appears to be owners reporting that their device either never switches to 3G, or, it is constantly switching between 3G and EDGE (and 3G coverage debate). It is reported that many of those having difficulties are so frustrated by Google’s lack of response and feedback that some are returning their phones to purchase competing models.
In an interesting piece of distancing, Verizon Wireless have been in touch to clarify exact details of the upcoming CDMA version of the Google Nexus One, which the search giant confirmed was in the works for a Spring 2010 release. According to Verizon, the Nexus One will not be offered via any Verizon websales, phone sales or stores, instead being solely distributed by Google's own webstore.
Since leaked specifications, FCC testing and hands-on evidence regarding the Google Nexus One seemingly confirmed that the Android 2.1 smartphone would only support 3G/UMTS on T-Mobile USA, those AT&T subscribers eyeing up the handset have been steadying themselves for a diet of EDGE-only data. That diet may not be quite so concrete, however; a last-minute rumor has filtered through to BGR that Google will also be offering a second, unlocked Nexus One which would support AT&T 3G bands.
With the discovery of an official car kit in the works, we're wondering quite how strong a lead in Nexus One accessories Google plan to take. The undisputed trailblazer for courting third-party accessories is Apple, and they've created a huge ecosystem around the iPhone and the iPod; so far add-ons for Android devices have been pretty much left to the whims of their respective manufacturers, but Google's newly focussed involvement might change all that. Our prediction: some sort of "made for Nexus" tagline.
Right now, Android lacks a certification program - a "Made for Android" tag, as it were - in the same manner as Apple's, and aside from the openness of the platform itself the devices that have used it generally adopt standardized connectors and adapters. True, it took HTC a few iterations to get that down-pat, but going by the leaked roadmap we saw last week they've now got fully on board with things like microUSB. As Google climb aboard the device train, however, it might make sense for them to qualify what's like to become a rush of third-party Nexus One accessories with an official seal.
Over the past few days, news has surfaced that Google quietly stopped forcing full-disk encryption for Android devices. After loudly thumping their chest about security, Google silently removed the requirement. At the time of discovery, it wasn’t clear why Google would do such a thing. A study found that Android handsets performed much worse when encrypted, so it was believed that was the reason Google had for yanking the encryption. Now, Google has responded, and performance is confirmed as the issue.